a lot of borderline tracks from this Minneapolis bands fourth effort
liked 2 tracks, The Saddest Of All Keys and People You Know

Grade - 1.4

released Jan 11th, 2011

from the album - Freak Out - grade 1.5


Bio from all music

Minneapolis, MN, indie rock classicists Tapes 'n Tapes formed in the winter of 2003, when guitarist/vocalist Josh Grier (aka "Tapes 1"), bassist Matt Kretzmann ("'n") and guitarist Steve Nelson ("Tapes 2") began crafting a sound that harked back to the Pixies and Pavement and also recalled more contemporary bands like the Shins. Nelson left the band, with drummer Karl Schweitz becoming the band's second "Tapes"; this lineup recorded the Tapes 'n Tapes EP in early 2004, recording in a cabin in Wisconsin. After the EP's release, Tapes 'n Tapes played a string of gigs with I Am the World Trade Center, the Streets, Metric, and the Futureheads. Kretzmann moved to Seattle in summer 2004, and bassist Shawn Neary became Tapes 'n Tapes second "'n." The band went through more lineup changes: Schweitz moved to Madison, WI, early the following year, and Jeremy Hanson joined as Tapes 'n Tapes' new drummer. This version of the band recorded its debut album, The Loon, in summer 2005 with producer/engineer Erik Appelwick. Ibid Records released The Loon that fall; around that time, Kretzmann rejoined the Tapes 'n Tapes fold. Positive reviews of The Loon and the band's consistent gigging -- which included a winter 2006 East Coast tour and an appearance at that year's South by Southwest -- led to Tapes 'n Tapes signing with XL Records. Neary left the band late that spring, and Appelwick stepped in to become the band's extra "'n." XL re-released The Loon in summer 2006. In 2007, Tapes 'n Tapes recorded with producer Dave Fridmann at his Buffalo, NY studio; the band's second album Walk it Off arrived the following spring. For their third album, 2011's Outside, the band returned to their own Ibid imprint, recording the album in their hometown and having Peter Katis mix the results.

Album Review from Pitchfork

You're forgiven for forgetting Tapes 'n Tapes. In 2005, the unknown Minnesota quartet self-released its self-produced, 41-minute indie rock romp, The Loon. A little Pavement, a little Pixes, and a lot of hooks, The Loon was bright-eyed and charming enough to overcome its retread tendencies. Critical buzz built for the band like a brushfire; by the time the record industry convened in Texas for South by Southwest in March 2006, one assumed Tapes 'n Tapes were the next Great American Rock Band.

They did their part in Austin, playing nine shows in four days and earning a record contract. XL Recordings re-released The Loon a few months later and sent the band into the studio with Dave Fridmann, the producer behind successes from Mogwai, Mercury Rev, and the Flaming Lips and, more relevantly, failures by more than a dozen young indie rock bands. The result, Walk It Off, is another Fridmann folly. Hookless, clumsy, and needlessly aggressive, the band's second album met a deluge of critical derision and sold far fewer copies than its predecessor. Tapes 'n Tapes are no longer on XL Recordings.

Outside, the band's third album, again finds Tapes 'n Tapes not only self-releasing and self-producing but redoubling their efforts at indie rock homage. The melodies and the influences are more defined, as are the poses; Outside is a fine but ultimately feckless return to form, an attempt to rebuild The Loon's simple charms. Tapes 'n Tapes have always been a serviceable and studied indie rock band. Technically, they've never been as crisp or as confident as they are on Outside. Frontman Josh Grier is a fine guitarist, as comfortable with blitzing through distorted hazes as he is swiveling through an upbeat swing. He's even broadened his palette as a singer, a chameleon with a big record collection. Drummer Jeremy Hanson is similarly elastic, as capable of the rock wallop of "Nightfall" as he is the graceful sway of "People You Know". Horns, keys, and bass offer ballast and texture, rounding the band's basic sound with unexpected flourishes.

The trouble with Tapes 'n Tapes is that they sound a little like a lot of bands but never very much like any one band-- namely, themselves. On "SWM", for instance, Grier flexes his scruff, intimating Eric Bachmann transitioning from Archers of Loaf to Crooked Fingers with a lighter heart. The elastic rhythm, worldly wanderlust, and expanded vocabulary of "One in the World" suggest the spry pop of both Vampire Weekend and Bishop Allen. Above howling organ peals and tormented drum runs on "The Saddest of All Keys", Grier does his best Nick Cave sneer, while the measured "Hidee Ho" presents him as a sort of sashaying version of the Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser. Tapes 'n Tapes have floundered for distinction and identity from the start. The Loon got a free pass, and Walk It Off was too unfortunate for any band to claim too long. Outside still feels like the work of a veteran band searching for its sound.

What's worst about Outside is that it leaves Tapes 'n Tapes-- just four years ago, a bunch of snappy, sloppy indie rock bros from the Midwest-- exactly there, on the outside. After an intense sophomore slump for a large label, they retreated to their own imprint and to their own production instincts and, really, to the same indie hero rock that first made them a big deal. This time, though, it sounds stiff and sapped of fun. In 2005, it was surprising-- occasionally, even thrilling-- to hear such indie rock élan from a new band. The music was youthful and fresh, the sound of a band who seemingly happened to get famous for its wide-eyed, innocent hero worship. This, however, is the sound of a band trying desperately to get back to that exuberance, and failing.

Track Listing

1 Badaboom
3 One in the World
4 Nightfall
5 Desert Plane
6 Outro
7 Freak Out
8 The Saddest of All Keys
9 Hidee Ho
10 People You Know
11 On and On
12 Mighty Long